It’s almost NYE! After the ball drops, the resolutions start. I love the idea of fresh starts and goal setting and resolutions. I love knowing that regardless what I did yesterday, today and tomorrow can be different, better, and new.
Here’s what I know about goal setting: it takes intentionality and accountability. Because when was the last time that you accidentally drifted in a good direction? You don’t often hear about someone who loses 100 pounds on accident or runs a marathon without knowing they are doing it. You have habits and those habits are your plan, unless you intervene with a new plan.
A few years back I put pen to paper - literally – and set some goals for myself. Big, vague goals, like have a better marriage, be a better mom, and be healthier. I wrote them down in my journal. Then I flipped the page and continued writing to dissect these big goals. I defined for myself what a better marriage would look like, what being the best mom I can be would look like. The next step was to look at those practical ideas of what I wanted and decide on some action steps that led me toward those things. Once I had some action steps written down, I decided how much would need to be done each month in order to reach this goal by the end of the year. Thus, I made smaller monthly goals that would culminate in forward progress by the end of the year. I then put it on my calendar to set aside a chunk of time on the first of each month to evaluate what I did last month, decide what worked and what didn’t, and set new goals for the following month. For a very self aware person, accountability can be as simple as checking in with yourself. If you aren’t that disciplined, then schedule coffee with your BFF for the 1st of every month for the accountability. Let me give you an example of what this goal breakdown might look like:
- Big goal – I want to have healthy friendships.
- What will that look like - I want to be vulnerable with my friends. I want them to know the real me and I want to know them. I want to care for them and have them care for me.
- Action steps – I need to spend more time with my friends.
- Monthly goal – Twice this month I am going to schedule one-on-one time with three different friends.
I know that to some people this feels forced, contrived, or inauthentic. I almost hesitated to share this example because if you are my friend who hung out with me during that time, what might you think? I hope you think that your friendship is valuable to me! You are too important to just fit into my schedule haphazardly, and it’s essential to me that I plan for us to have some time together on a regular basis.
I share this detailed description of what worked for me in hopes that someone might benefit. 2014 was the first year that I focused on writing these goals down, and to this day I am thankful I did. (The photo above is my actual journal from 2014.) Many of the goals that year set into motion new habits that have continued to produce fruit. The funny thing about having goals like a better marriage or better friendships is that you don’t get to the end of March and decide your goal was achieved. Maybe not even the end of December. It’s a sowing and reaping thing. It’s building habits now that don’t feel like much, but years later you are thankful you have them.
So maybe New Year’s resolutions aren’t your thing. That’s okay. Let me remind you that you get nothing by simply wishing for it. Every day that goes by is one that you will never get back. You can either waste your time or invest your time. Not sure where to start? Just imagine the life you want 10 years from now. Ask yourself what you’ll wish you had done by then, and do those things now.
Happy New Year!